GUINNESS PRO12: Lethargic Ulster fall in Newport

Iain Henderson against Dragons
Iain Henderson against Dragons
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Ulster left it too late to pick up what would have been a massive win at this stage of the Guinness PRO12.

The Irish Province moved into second place level with Munster after picking up a losing bonus point, but this was a game they should have been looking to take a victory from in their quest to make the semi-finals.

Ulster fell behind to a Tom Prydie penalty after 14 minutes, the score coming against the run of play, but an unconverted Craig Gilroy try saw the visitors ahead 5-3 on 21 minutes.

Prydie kicked a second penalty, before missing two other attempts to leave the half time score 6-5.

Ruan Pienaar, having missed a conversion and a penalty on 44 minutes, eventually broke through the 500 PRO12 league points mark with a penalty on 47 minutes which also Ulster go 8-6 ahead.

But Dorian Jones hit back with a penalty from five attempts to nudge the home side in front once again at 9-8.

It all went wrong for Ulster from the 53rd minute sin-binning of prop Callum Black, Newport scoring two tries through Rhys Buckley and Jonathan Evans, Jones convering the latter.

However, Ulster threw themselves a life line when Gilroy went over for a 70th minute try, converted by Pienaar to leave six points between the sides.

But the result was put beyond doubt seven minutes from the end when Carl Meyer crossed for an unconverted try for the Welsh region.

Although debutant Ross Adair went over for a try in the final minute of the game, converted by Pienaar, it was too late for Ulster who lost possession with the game clock in the red.

Newport Gwent Dragons: Geraint Rhys Jones; Tom Prydie, Jack Dixon, Ashley Smith, Hallam Amos, Dorian Jones, Jonathan Evans; Boris Stankovich, T. Rhys Thomas (c), Brok Harris, Andrew Coombs, Cory Hill, James Thomas, James Benjamin, Nick Crosswell.

Replacements: Rhys Buckley, Phil Price, Lloyd Fairbrother, Matthew Screech, Scott Matthews, Luc Jones, Carl Meyer, Ashton Hewitt.

Ulster: L Ludik; C Gilroy, D Cave (capt), M Stanley, M Allen, I Humphreys, R Pienaar; C Black, R Herring, W Herbst, D Tuohy, F Van der Merwe, I Henderson, C Ross, N Williams.

Replacements: J Andrew, A Warwick, B Ross, L Stevenson, R Diack, P Marshall, S Arnold, R Scholes.

Referee: Dudley Phillips (IRFU)